Fall Prevention and Balance Exercise for Elderly
Balance problems are common in older people and need to be monitored with caution, as they can lead to falls and other injuries.
Allied health professionals can provide tailored balance exercise for elderly to help with balance problems. Balance exercises for seniors are not just useful for elderly fall prevention, they can also help to ensure that older people can keep living the life they desire and participate in the activities they love.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know might have a balance problem, answer the questions below.
- Do you feel unsteady?
- Do you feel as if the room is spinning around you, even if only for brief periods of time?
- Do you feel as if you are moving when you know you are standing or sitting still?
- Do you ever lose your balance and fall?
- Do you feel as if you are falling?
- Do you feel lightheaded, or as if you might faint?
- Does your vision become blurred?
- Do you ever feel disoriented, losing your sense of time, place, or identity?
- Do you feel dizzy when getting up from a lying or seating position?
If you answered ‘yes’ to some of the above questions, you should speak to your GP to get advice on how to manage these issues.
The following medical conditions may also increase your risks of having balance problems:
- Ear infection
- Neurological conditions like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Joint, muscle and vision problems
- Vestibular problems
- Heart disease
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
- Meniere’s disease
Apart from having a medical condition that predisposes the elderly to falls, there are other physical factors that may increase the risks of falls. They include:
- Poor vision, including poor lightning
- Loss of leg sensation
- Reduced lower limbs muscle strength
- Poor reaction time
- Poor postural stability
- Clustered environment
- Reduced functional reach
- Faulty mobility aid and/or inappropriate mobility aid
Our therapists can help identify what may be the reason for recurring falls and develop a treatment plan to prevent a reoccurrence. A treatment plan can include balance exercises for seniors alongside the following:
- A home safety assessment which can be conducted by our occupational therapists
- A physiotherapy assessment identifying the possible causes of falls and an appropriate treatment plan including balance exercises for elderly, which can be provided by our Physiotherapists.
- Medication review conducted by your GP if the medication side-effects are a predisposing factor.
- An Optometrist visit if poor vision is a predisposing factor.
- A Podiatrist referral for appropriate footwear if indicated
There are many factors that can contribute to falls. Good news is that many of these can be influenced or eliminated by yourself. Find a list of elderly falls prevention tips below:
- Non-slip shoes should be worn
- Good lightning in the home (bedroom, bathroom, hallways, and stairways).
- Good non-slip flooring.
- Remove clusters from the pathways.
- Use of grab bars in the bathtub, shower, and toilet area.
- Use handrails on both sides of stairways.
- Avoid elderlies from climbing to reach objects, request/provide assistance instead.
- Regular eye checks
- Regular hearing checks
- Regular podiatry visits
- Prompt GP visit if feeling unsteady or dizzy
- Use appropriate mobility aid prescribed
- Don’t get out of bed in a haste, take rest intervals in-between transfers.
- For seniors that need to use the bathroom often at night, a bedside commode may be considered to avoid walking longer distances in the dark or when tired.
- Regular walking exercise.
- Muscle strengthening exercises.
If you are worried about yourself or someone you know having balance problems, please contact us and we are happy to assist with recommendations, balance exercises for seniors and elderly fall prevention.